Category Archives: Ownership

A handful for May Day

A departure from the one-story-one-post approach.

  1. “Israel Targets Iran Accord,” The Wall Street Journal, May 1, 2018 A1. Israel releases Iranian documents about a nuclear weapons program found in an abandoned warehouse. At least two themes: (a) What does information mean? Did Iran lie during negotiations? (b) Do you destroy documents/information that are/is no longer useful to you?  What does it say when you don’t?
  2. “‘Fake News’ Law Snares an Offender,” The Wall Street Journal, May 1, 2018 A16. A visitor to Malaysia convicted and sentenced for publishing “fake news” about how quickly/slowly emergency services responded to a shooting. Interesting that the first conviction under the new law was of a foreigner.
  3. “Banks Draw Bead on Guns,” The Wall Street Journal, May 1, 2018 B1. Banks and credit card companies discuss tracking your purchases of guns.  What will they do with that information? Is there other information they can deduce from your purchases that someone would like to track? Would your health insurer/doctor like to track your food and alcohol purchases?  Whose information is that, anyway?
  4. “Guilty Verdict in Autonomy Case,” The Wall Street Journal, May 1, B2.  Former CFO of Autonomy convicted of fraud in connection with the sale of Autonomy to HP for $11 billion in 2011.  This was not some lower-level accountant accused of misstating aspects of a tax-motivated deal. Instead, the fraud overstated Autonomy’s revenue and generally misstating financial results.  The former CEO has also been sued in the UK for damages.
  5. “Facebook Shares the Shared,” The Wall Street Journal, May 1, 2018 B5. Now you can download any of 25 categories of the information that Facebook keeps on you.  Your search history.  When you liked or didn’t like something.  Which and how many advertisers have your contact information.  How many categories does Facebook have?  We don’t know.
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Catching up

I was out of town for a bit, and am now catching up  So this will deviate from the usual one-story, one-post format.  19 squibs.

“ISS Opposes Five Equifax Directors,” The Wall Street Journal, April 17, 2018 B2.  A proxy advisor recommends against voting for members of the Board’s technology committee, who had responsibility for technology security.  Is that all that happens, they get fired?  157 millions accounts exposed and they get un-elected but not (yet) sued?  No claw-back of director’s fees?

“Facebook Data Dispute Embroils University of Cambridge,” The Wall Street Journal, April 16, 2018 B4. Cambridge says Facebook approved of the University’s use of Facebook data.  Or your data, if you wish.

“Fired FBI No.2 McCabe Misled Probe, Report Says,” The Wall Street Journal, April 14, 2018 A1.  Misleading an internal investigation into leak to the newspaper is not good.

“Volkswagen Prepares to Replace CEO, The Wall Street Journal, April 11, 2018 B1.  CEO who help VW survive the emissions scandal gets replaced. A palace coup after the company spent $25 billion+ on the scandal.  Is this more price for VW to pay?  And let’s not forget the shareholders, who foot the bill.  See also “VW Picks Chief After Boardroom Coup,” The Wall Street Journal, April 13, 2018 B1.

“Blunder Hits Samsung Securities,” The Wall Street Journal, April 11, 2018 B13. An employee’s mistake leads to mistaken issuance of $105 billion in shares, more than 30 times the company’s existing issued shares.  Do you have the right controls in place?  Is this an information governance issue?

“Facebook Hearings Put Regulation In Spotlight,” The Wall Street Journal, April 12, 2018 A1. Will the Facebook data leak/usage lead to new privacy regulation?

“Adviser Urges Shift On Board Of Equifax,” The Wall Street Journal, April 12, 2018 B10.  Does the company’s failure to avoid a cyber attack mean the board has to go?  Maybe.

“China’s Censors Zero In on Apps,” The Wall Street Journal, April 12, 2018 B4.  Chinese government extends control over a smartphone app that had crude jokes.  Now there’s enforcement of a policy, and a demonstration of what “governance” means.

“Zuckerberg Says Sorry for Harm Done,” The Wall Street Journal, April 10, 2018 B4.  Classic crisis management strategy:  admit you’re wrong?

“Sensing Urgency, Facebook Bolsters User Protections,” The Wall Street Journal, April 10, 2018 B5.  Locking the door after the horse bolted.

“Facebook Sets ‘Issue’ Ads Rule,” The Wall Street Journal, April 7, 2018 A1.  Does a background check on advertisers protect your privacy?

“YouTube Policies Stir Bitterness,” The Wall Street Journal, April 6, 2018 B1.  Following attack at YouTube HQ, taking a closer look at YouTube’s policies on filtering/restricting content.

“Facebook CEO: Lax Privacy a ‘Huge Mistake,'” The Wall Street Journal, April 5, 2018 A1.  Not focusing on privacy protections a “huge mistake.”  Really?

“Police Want to Send AI Into the Street,” The Wall Street Journal, April 4, 2018 A3.  Can body cams be used to collect “Person of Interest”-level information, real time?

“WPP’s Sorrell Faces Probe,” The Wall Street Journal, April 4, 2018 B1.  CEO of advertising company under internal investigation for misusing company assets.  It’s really just a question of duty.

“GM Scraps a Standard in Sales Reporting,” The Wall Street Journal, April 3, 2018 B1.  You manage what you measure.  So, no longer reporting this statistic will reportedly make it easier to measure performance.  Huh?

“Oracle Defeats Google In Court,” The Wall Street Journal, March 28, 2018 B1. Appeals court revives copyright infringement suit against Google.  $9 billion+ in damages alleged.

“Wedbush Accused Of Flawed Oversight,” The Wall Street Journal, March 28, 2018 B12.  SEC charges company with failure to properly supervise an employee involved in “long-running ‘pump-and-dump’ scheme.”

 

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Uber settles

“Uber Settles Trade-Secrets Case,” The Wall Street Journal, February 10, 2018 B1.  Uber pays more than $240 million to settle case, and agrees not to use certain technology on self-driving cars, allegedly belonging to Waymo.  The agreement not to use was worth perhaps $250 million.

How does your company make sure it isn’t using a third party’s intellectual property without permission?  Is this an important part of your compliance program?  How does your company manage its acquisitions of new companies, some of whom (or their employees) may not have been as diligent in avoiding trade secret theft?

How can you prevent people from bringing information that you do not want into your company?  What are your processes?

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Willie Sutton?

Willie Sutton (a famous bank robber) was reportedly asked, “Why do you rob banks?” He reportedly said, “Because that’s where the money is.” https://www.snopes.com/quotes/sutton.asp

“Hackers Plunder Crypto Exchange,” The Wall Street Journal, January 27, 2018 B5. More than $500 million in credits hacked from the Coincheck site in Japan.  One assumes virtual banks are easier to rob than brick and mortar banks.

This is a concrete example of the cost of a cyber breach.  But it also follows on from an earlier post (Law School Exam Question) equating cash money and information, in terms of value.

If businesses (including the Board of Directors) treated information assets as cash, and managing, protecting, and controlling the organization’s information as currency, would that be “information governance”?  Why do they handle information assets differently?  Why should the Board and the officers get a pass on this?  The shareholders certainly don’t.

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Why listen to the court?

“Battle at CFPB Rages On,” The Wall Street Journal, December 4, 2017 B9.  The person who lost in her attempt to seize control of the CFPB despite the appointment of Mick Mulvaney as the head of the agency asks the court to do “a more complete legal assessment of her claims.”

I guess if you don’t like the first decision, you might as well ask again, right?

Governance involves having a clear idea of who governs.  I suspect the court will clarify the matter for her and her lawyer.

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Hacks in the news

“Hackers Target Private Data, Network Access of Young Job Seekers,” The Wall Street Journal, August 21, 2017 B5.  Job scams continue.  Some use fake LinkedIn profiles.

Be careful on the web.  When you click, you get what they send, not necessarily what you expect.  Control what information you get.

Lot of hacks since then.

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Torn

I was torn between four different pieces in the WSJ today:

“Big Pay Day for Mylan Chairman,” The Wall Street Journal, May 3, 2017 B3.  What does it say when the company that charges $600 for a two-pack of a delivery mechanism for $1.25 worth of epinephrine pay its chairman $100 million?  Guess what that culture’s like.

“Molina Healthcare Replaces Top 2 Executives,” The Wall Street Journal, May 3, 2017 B3.  Company removes two family members after poor financial returns (but they’ll stay on the Board).  Guess charity doesn’t begin at home.  Removing someone for poor performance is one thing; next they’ll remove people for violating the law, or company policy.  But Thanksgiving’s going to be a bear.

“Beijing Places Curbs On Online New Portals,” The Wall Street Journal, May 3, 2017 B4.  Managing information includes denying access to it.  So much for net neutrality.

But I decided to go with “Berkshire Faces Pressure Over Political Disclosure,” The Wall Street Journal, May 3, 2017 B5. Vote on whether the company should disclose the amount of political contributions it makes, and to whom.  Were I a shareholder, I might ask whether those expenditures were for the benefit of the company or for the benefit of incumbent management.  But shouldn’t shareholders be able to ask the question and get the answer?  Citizens United is fine, but disclosure to the shareholders makes sense, so they can decide whether to stay invested.

 

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